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Cat. No. 981

One's Sleep

Abstraction, Architecture, Figures, Nature
Aquatint, Engraving, Etching
Editioned series of 12 illustrated books, 9 bound and 3 unbound: each book contains 18 plates including etching, engraving, and aquatint, with watercolor and gouache additions
Handmade Dieu Donné paper
page (each): 37 x 27" (94 x 68.6 cm); cover (each bound book): 38 1/2 x 28 5/8 x 2" (97.8 x 72.7 x 5.1 cm)
See individual books
Cover (each bound book): "one's sleep" center sheet, pencil, artist's hand.
Osiris, New York
Wingate Studio, Hinsdale, NH
12 (see Edition Information)
See individual books
Edition Information:
Documentation was available from the Louise Bourgeois Studio for 2 bound examples of “One’s Sleep”: numbers 1 and 3. No documentation is available for the other bound or unbound examples, as of 2016 cataloguing.

The colophons found in books 1 and 3 differ with regard to Edition and Publisher.
Book 1:
Edition: “Ten bound books / Two unbound folio sets”
Publisher: “Designed and published by Benjamin Shiff”

Book 3:
Edition: “Nine bound books / Three unbound folio sets”
(Publisher’s notes, not included on the colophon, numbers the books 1-9 and I-III)
Publisher: “Published by Osiris”

The pagination in books 1 and 3 differ in that book 1 includes an additional blank spread before pp. 9-10 (with plates 1 and 2). Otherwise, the plates used and the order in which they appear is consistent in each. (See individual books)

Hand additions to the plates in books 1 and 3 vary considerably.
State Changes and Additions:
Within "One's Sleep," when 2 plates appear across a single spread, the spread is treated as a diptych and that diptych is considered a new composition for the purposes of this catalogue.

Many plates in "One's Sleep" were also issued as separate editions; they are listed below and are seen in Related Works in the Catalogue.

plates (3 and 4): plate from "Toi et Moi."

plate (5): plate from "Strange Fellows."

plate (6): plate from "Side by Side."

plates (7 and 8): plate from "The Upward Journey."

plate (9): plate from "The Sky’s the Limit."

plate (10): plate from "In the Distance."

plate (11): plate from "Unaware and Aware."

plate (12): plate from "Spring."

plate (13): plate from "The Underground Life of Fear."

plate (14): plate from "The Ladder of Success."

plate (17): plate from "One’s Sleep."
This single impression was editioned with the same title as the series of illustrated books.

plate (18): plate from "Landscape."
Printer of Text:
Wild Carrot Letterpress, Hadley, MA

From the illustrated book

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  • NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. One's Sleep (1). 2003
    One's Sleep (1)
    Louise Bourgeois. One's Sleep (1). 2003
  • NOT IN MoMA'S COLLECTION Louise Bourgeois. One's Sleep (3). 2003
    One's Sleep (3)
    Louise Bourgeois. One's Sleep (3). 2003

Louise Bourgeois,

One's Sleep,


Bourgeois's entire printed text for this volume appears on the pages cited below. The text is consistent throughout the documented books, although the page numbers vary slightly.

One's Sleep [artist’s hand]

Text 1:

Text 2:
one's sleep

Text 3 (with plate 1):
The blue fear.

Text 4 (with plate 2):
The pink fear.

Text 5:
I need sleep.

Text 6 (with plate 3):
The comfort object, always present,

Text 7 (with plate 4):
the color blue,
the child.
the circling of children.

Text 8 (with plate 5):
I need sleep.

Text 9 (with plate 6):
To listen to the breathing, to my stomach,
to my intestines. I want to listen to them,
to expose them, to think about them,
to welcome them, to wait for them,
to take care of them, like a good rested mother.

Text 10 (with plate 7 and 8):
Sleep to reach peace, the restoration of silence and of peace.
The defenses are worthless, they do not exist. Kindliness,
healthy breathing, forgetting and forgiving, to let go.

Text 11:
Leniency and charity are necessary for the arrival of sleep.
I want to give, to exude, to give to give, to exude.

Text 12 (with plate 9):
My sleep is disturbed. The house of fear. Apprehension.
I fear the future, but I am also afraid of the past.
Yes even the past, but also the present.
I am afraid of others, but mostly of myself.

Text 13 (with plate 10):
The fear to waste one's time,
the fear to waste one's luck,
the fear of the past;

The fear of the present,
the fear to love,
the fear of the future;

Text 14 (with plate 11):
The ransom, the cost, the effect of fear on others.
The fear that does not know itself.
Unaware and aware.

Text 15 (with plate 12 and 13):
The underground life of fear, what it becomes.

Text 16 (with plate 14):
The fear and the sugar, the adrenaline.
To have the energy and persistence to replace fear by trust.

Text 17 (with plate 15):
I'm going to wait until my breathing goes down and gets regularized, to yawn,

Text 18 (with plate 16):
to do one's nails, to comb the hair, to mend, to draw, to write one's journal.

Text 19 (with plate 17):
One's sleep.

Text 20:
To lose one's way,
to lose one's friend,
to lose one's breath.

Text 21:
To love.

Text 22 (with plate 18):
Leave the house of fear, the window is open.